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Removing old varnish from wood

8 replies

AuroraB · 21/01/2010 12:08


i've been given a play pen, it's from the 70's and is coated in quite flaky, orangy coloured varnish. ideally i'd like it gone as a) it looks horrid and b) as soon as ds is big enough i imagine he'll be chewing / sucking the bars and i'm pretty sure bits will end up in him.

so, i want to remove the old varnish, has anyone done similar? would it be best to sand paper it off or use a stripper? would a stripper leave nasty residue in the wood to also be sucked off? is there an easy way to sand paper as the feel of it goes through me

OP posts:
IdontFeelLikeDancing · 21/01/2010 13:27

There is a product you can coat all over varnished wood, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight, then you should be able to scrape the varnish off in the morning. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it sorry! I would ask a proper hardware shope (the old fashioned sort where they sell screws individually!)

IdontFeelLikeDancing · 21/01/2010 13:28

shop not shope (not that old fashioned )

mistlethrush · 21/01/2010 13:34

IDFLD - is is 'Varnish Remover' by any chance? Have used this on awful varnish to remove (30's, sticky) - it did need two coats - and we wiped over with white spirit to get the residue off, although it wasn't one that you left on overnight covered in cling film - but as it was the stairs and banisters, probably a good thing

Aurora - go to DIY shop and ask what products they have - read what you have to do and choose which one sounds most appropriate.

MitchyInge · 21/01/2010 13:37

can it be dipped in that stuff they dip old doors in?

IdontFeelLikeDancing · 21/01/2010 13:37

LOL! No, wasn't called varnish remover. Was more industrial than that. We used it on bannisters with about 60 yrs worth of paint on them in old Victorian house.

mistlethrush · 21/01/2010 13:53
AuroraB · 21/01/2010 14:28

you don't think something for ye olde harware shope might be a bit chemically for something a baby woudl go in?

yes you're both right i need to go and ask in a a shop dont i and that would answer my questions, thank you, a simple idea that had eluded me

OP posts:
mistlethrush · 21/01/2010 14:50

Particularly if you have a nice owner in ye olde hardwarey shope that can actually give you advice rather than someone at one of the big warehouse type stores who probably has never been near it or even thought about the consequences for a child...

The other thing is... after I used 2x applications of varnish remover (heavy duty) and white spirit, there was still some of this awful varnish showing, now such a thin shiny layer that sandpaper wouldn't bite. I got some glass off cuts from a glass repair shop and cut 1"x 4" (ish) strips that I used to take the top layer off - glass offcuts so that you can use the newly cut edges as the scraper - and discard when no longer sharp. Took time, but the ballustrades looked fab when I had finished and revarnished them in something light!

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